Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lifetime Losses: The Career Wage Gap

The Center for American Progress Action Fund has just released a report on the career wage gap between men and women. The career wage gap is the estimated lost wages over a lifetime of work by women as a result of the gender wage gap (based on the median wages of all full-time working men and women from the 2007 American Community Survey). The report provides national estimates as well as estimates and rankings on a state-by-state basis.

For the U.S., the Center found that the average full-time female worker loses approximately $434,000 in wages over a 40-year period as a direct result of the gender pay gap. Factoring in education level, the Center estimates the career wage gap as follows:
  • Bachelor's degree or higher - $713,000
  • Some college - $452,000
  • High school diploma - $392,000
  • Less than high school - $270,000
In the state rankings, Ohio falls somewhere in the middle; the overall career wage gap is estimated at $486,000. For different educational levels, the Center estimated the following for our state:
  • Bachelor's degree or higher - $657,000
  • Some college - $502,000
  • High school diploma - $449,000
The summary report, which also provides calculations based on occupations, is available at the Center's website. There's also an interactive map available that allows you to pick states for comparisons.

Note: Some contend that the gender wage gap is "feminist fiction" (Independent Women's Forum, 2005), that the differences come from the "choices" women make regarding the occupations they select and the time away from they incur as a result of having a family. Yet 2003 research by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found even after accounting for those choices, women still earned only 80 percent of what men earned in the same period.

You may notice the use of quotes around the word "choices" above. It's really time to reframe our thinking around the idea that women have a "choice." Joan Williams, author of Unbending Gender:Why Work and Family Life Conflict and What To Do About It, 1066 Foundation Chair, Distinguished Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at University of California, Hastings College of the Law questions the use of the word "choice," saying that "many people assume that women, couples, and families make voluntary choices about work and family that result in a range of consequences. Oftentimes, women bear the brunt of these so-called choices that actually reflect some deep-seated notions about the ideal worker and gender ideologies about caregiving. Values at home, in the workplace, and in society constrain choices of careers or employment options that, in turn, result in reduced earnings or limited opportunities for career advancement.” Williams stresses, “This is not ‘choice.’ People who do not conform to our expectations for the ideal worker—men as well as women—are disadvantaged. We need to recognize that workplaces that define their ideal as someone who works full-time full-force for forty years, taking no time off for family care, may be engaging in gender discrimination."
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

In My Inbox

Here are brief summaries of a number of articles and reports in my inbox that are worth noting:
  • Sex, Gender and Women's Health: Why Women Usually Come Last - while women live longer than men, they also spend more time in their lives in poor or compromised health. The Disease Control Priorities Project, funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently released this four-page summary of women's health issues globally.
  • The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top 250 Films of 2007 - the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film found that in women were 15% of the individuals serving in key positions (like director, producer, writer, editor and cinematographer) on the top 250 films in 2007 (Spiderman 3, Shrek the 3rd, Knocked Up...) - a decline of 4 percentage points since 2001.
  • The Financial Conditions of Women on Their Own - the Consumer Federation of American, in a report co-authored by OSU professor Catherine Montalto, recently reported that women on their own are often much worse off financially than Americans overall - the median household income of female-headed households, for example is $22,595 compared to $43,120 for all households (the report is based on 2004 data and doesn't even take into account the current economic condition). Women on their own are also tend to have less education, are less likely to own their own homes, and are less likely indicate that they "save regularly." CFA also reported previously that women were much more likely to be targets of subprime lending, even though women in general tend to have equal or higher credit scores when compared to men - as much as 41% more likely in fact. (Women Are Prime Targets for Subprime Lending, 2006).
  • OSU researchers Randy Hodson and Lindsey Joyce Chamberlain were also co-authors (along with Martha Crowley, NC State and Daniel Tope, Florida State) of a study that examined the impact of organizational context on the levels and types of harassment women face in the workplace, and the results might surprise you. They found that women face the most harassment in workplaces where the proportion of men to women is fairly equal. (OSU Research News brief).
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Catalyst's 2008 Census of Women in Business Leadership

Catalyst has just released their 2008 census of women serving on the boards and as corporate officers of Fortune 500 companies, and the news isn't encouraging.
  • the percentage of seats held by women on Fortune 500 boards increased from 14.8% to 15.1% (848 seats out of a total of 5610)
  • the percentage of female corporate officers increased from 15.4% to 15.7% (1312 female officers out of a total of 8344).
  • the percentage of women among the Fortune 500 "top earners" declined from 6.7% to 6.2% (129 out of 2084 total)
The news for women of color isn't any better:
  • women of color make up slightly more than one-fifth of the total number of female directors, but are only 3.2% of the total (up from 3% in 2007).
The EOWA Australian Census of Women in Leadership, released in October, actually showed declines in the number of women in executive management and board positions:
  • the percentage of executive management positions held by women declined from 12% in 2006 to 10.7%
  • the percentage of board seats held by women declined from 8.7% to 8.3%
EOWA director Anna McPhee, commenting on the results, said "At the time of the 2006 census we described the pace of change as glacial. In 2008 the results show that women's progress is melting away."
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Don't Blame Title IX

NCAA President Myles Brand made an interesting move last month when he called on colleges and universities to not blame Title IX for cuts they may make in men's sports opportunities during this downturn in the economy. Brand readily admitted that he was trying to "preempt" any attempt to blame Title IX for cuts in collegiate sports programs, an argument which Brand characterized as "unfair" in his comments in USA Today.

Title IX, passed in 1972 to ban discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program receiving Federal funding, is often cited as the reason for cutting opportunities for men to play sports at the collegiate level - the most frequent spin that as such, the cuts are unfair (supported by the belief that men have a God-given right of first refusal to sports).

The Women's Sports Foundation has some of the best reference information on Title IX - it's the first place to go when looking for stats to back up arguments in support of Title IX. Like the fact that men's participation in sports at the collegiate level has actually increased in the 36 years since Title IX was passed.

(Check the Institute's wiki for more information from the Women's Sports Foundation's most recent report card on colleges and universities.)
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Election Update - Kilroy Wins Ohio's 15th District Race

The results for this race were finally announced this past weekend; Mary Jo Kilroy will represent Ohio's 15th House District when Congress convenes after the first of the year. She will join Marcia Fudge, who won the race to fill the seat left vacant by the untimely death of Stephanie Tubbs Jones earlier this year.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, 75 women will serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, and 17 will serve in the U.S. Senate - 19% of the total 535 seats available (not including non-voting delegates). Those results would rank the U.S. 63rd among the 188 legislative bodies evaluated by the InterParliamentary Union for the percentage of seats held by women (based on October 2008 totals).

Also interesting to note:
  • the Senate in New Hampshire is the first where women hold the majority - 13 of 24 seats. One take on it: it's an almost volunteer position with poor pay in New Hampshire - $100 a year plus gas money - the lowest in the nation in 2005.
  • in contrast, South Carolina became the all state in the nation with an all-male Senate. (In 2005, South Carolina paid its legislators $10,400 annually according to a report by the Council of State Governments)
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Not Breakout, but Brutal!

Marie Cocco is syndicated through the Washington Post Writers Group; one of her recent op-ed pieces (online in the Indianapolis Star) summarized her assessment of the 2008 election for women with the following quote:

"It is time to stop kidding ourselves. This wasn't a breakthrough year for American women in politics. It was a brutal one."

In the piece, Cocco argues that 2008 was not a breakout year for women in politics and that neither Hillary Clinton nor Sarah Palin really managed to crack the glass ceiling. She's not impressed with the talk of Hillary Clinton's likely nomination as Secretary of State (women have been there) or the slight gains for women serving in Congress, noting that the number of women holding statewide elective office has actually declined. Cocco quotes Barbara Lee, whose family foundation has done a great deal of research on women in elected office. Lee says that the issue for women continues to be the need to be "likable" in addition to being competent and experienced.

Others who have weighed in on the subject:
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Women Lawyers: Retention and Promotion

The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and NAWL Foundation recently released their third national survey of that status of women in law firms. The results are not encouraging.

We know the drill - women have been graduating from law schools at the same rate as men for over two decades. Yet we still find:
  • Only 16% of equity partners are women.
  • On average, only 15% of a firm's highest governing committee members are women (and 15% of the national's largest firms have no women on their highest governing committee).
  • Only 6% of firm managing partners are women.
  • From associate to equity partners, male lawyers out-earn female lawyers - at the equity level the difference in average median compensation is almost $90,000.
And, as is almost always the case, the numbers are bleaker for women of color. While 11% of firm associates are women of color:
  • only 3% of non-equity partners are women of color
  • only 1.4% of equity partners are women of color
And note: while men of color make up only 8% of firm associates, they are 6% of the non-equity partners and 4% of equity partners. Even though there are more women of color at the associate level, men of color outpace the women into firm leadership positions.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Election 2008

The dust is starting to settle from the 2008 election, although there are a few races still in question. The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers has compiled the good news and the bad news for women's participation in elected office; their findings include the following.
  • A record number of women will serve in the U.S. Senate - 17 total (out of 100), up one from the previous election (OK, this will definitely put us over the top).
  • The U.S. House of Representatives will also include a record number of women: 74, up from 71 prior to the election. (Note that there is one race - the 15th District in Ohio - that is still outstanding.)
  • That's 91 women total - or 17% of the 535 seats total. The Inter-Parliamentary Union did their most recent ranking just prior to our elections, and the U.S. was 71st among 188 countries for the percentage of seats held by women (in this case, the "lower house" - our House of Representatives).

The number of women serving in state legislatures will also increase in 2009 to 24.9% of the total.
  • New Hampshire achieved a first - the majority of seats in their Senate will be held by women (13 of 24 total).
  • The South Carolina Senate earned the distinction as the only state legislative body with no women serving.

It was Democratic women, however, who put these numbers over the top. In both state senate and state houses (or assemblies) races, Democratic women gained seats while Republican women lost representation.
  • The number of Democratic women serving in state legislatures increased from 1200 to 1261
  • The number of Republican women serving in state legislatures decreased from 535 to 509. (If you're doing the math - the number of women identified as "non-partisan" increased by 1, as "progressive" increased by 1 and as independent lost 2).
The Institute has done an initial assessment of the outcome of the recent election on the number of women serving at that state and national level for Ohio. Visit our wiki for the most recent information:
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

PricewaterhouseCoopers' Gender Gap Study

The professional services firms have often led the way in analyzing the reasons why women leave before advancing into senior leadership ranks, in part because they understand the investment they make in training an associate in their methodology and the amount of revenue that walks out the door when they leave. They have also shared their findings as part of their efforts to communicate their commitment to advancing women leaders. The most recent effort comes from PricewaterhouseCoopers and is a film entitled Closing the Gender Gap: Challenges, Opportunities and the Future. It's based on interviews with 100 women and men around the world - from all arenas, and it makes some of the following points regarding what it will take and why it is important to close the gap between women and men.
  • competing effectively for talented people will continue to be a critical factor for success, and striving for gender equity will help countries and regions increase their economic vitality
  • companies need to plug the leaking pipeline by addressing a triple threat: women need to see opportunities outside of their traditional roles, men need to be less exclusive and society's gender expectations need to change.
  • mentoring is imperative, and paths for career re-entry are essential
  • companies must strive for a critical mass at the top (which some peg at 30%) - those that do will see significant, long-term, financial impact
  • men have to be engaged in the process and need to understand the ways in which they will benefit from closing the gender gap
The film will be shown at the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos. The 25-minute film can be viewed online at:
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Women in Leadership in California; Global Gender Gap Report

Here are a couple of recent research reports worth noting.

U.C. Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders (2008)

The U.C. Graduate School of Management has just released their fourth census of women directors and executive officers in California. Their results include the following:
  • half of California's 400 largest public companies have no women in top executive offices,
  • almost half do not have a woman on the board of directors, and
  • nearly a third do not have a woman in either a top executive post or on the governing board.
Wondering how we fare in Ohio? I've not looked at statewide figures (our goal is produce our first statewide census of women leaders in Ohio in business and government this academic year), but central Ohio figures have always lagged behind the national averages. The public companies not included in the Fortune 1000 in particular often lack diversity in their executive suites and on their boards. And to date, only one Fortune 1000 company in Ohio has had a female CEO, when Kerrii Anderson served as the CEO at Wendy's.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2008

The World Economic Forum has also recently released their 2008 update on the status of women and girls around the world. Out of the 130 countries ranked, the U.S. came in 27th, behind Sri Lanka, Cuba and South Africa (Norway, Finland and Sweden lead the list) among others.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McKinsey Leadership Study; Traditional Views Earn Men More

McKinsey Studies

McKinsey recently released two related reports:
You're asked to register in order to view the reports - note that there is a link on the right (under "Tools") to download a copy in PDF format.

Men With Traditional Views Earn More

You may have seen references to this research - it has been mentioned by a variety of media outlets. It's worth taking a look at the Journal of Applied Psychology article; the results are based on the a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of more than 12,000 individuals who were 14-22 years of age in 1979 (making them 42-50 years of age now). It's an interesting discussion of gender role orientation (our beliefs about what the roles should be for men and women at home and at work) in light of Hillary Clinton's run at the Democratic presidential nomination and the reaction to Sarah Palin's nomination as the VP candidate for the Republicans.

Note: "traditional" gender role orientation was identified by positive responses to the following:
  1. a woman's place is in the home, not the office or shop
  2. a wife with a family has not time for outside employment
  3. employment of wives leads to more juvenile delinquency
  4. it is much better if the man is the achiever outside the home and the woman takes care of the home and family.
  5. women are much happier if they stay at home and take care of children.
Another interesting result:
  • over the period of time (25 years) covered by the study, women's pay increased an average of 120%, while men's increased 317% over the same period.
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